|Baidu splurges on mobility, earnings slip
Baidu Inc., which operates China's leading search engine, said quarterly profit edged down 0.4 percent as it spent heavily to promote mobile services.
Baidu earned 2.8 billion yuan in the three months ending December 31, the Beijing-based company announced. Revenue grew by 50.3 percent compared with a year earlier to 9.5 billion yuan, AP reports.
Marketing and administrative costs surged 135 percent, which the company said was due to higher spending to promote mobile services. Research and development spending jumped 80 percent.
Baidu and rivals are spending heavily to attract users who are moving to surfing the Web on smartphones, tablet computers and other wireless devices.
Mobile accounted for more than 20 percent of Baidu's quarterly revenue, according to chairman Robin Li.
“Our efforts to drive mobile adoption among customers gained significant traction throughout the year,'' said Li in a statement. “Building out our platform to capture the huge opportunities ahead remains our focus for 2014.''
Baidu's market share in traditional personal computer-based search is more than 80 percent. But in mobile it faces intense competition from companies such as Qihoo 360, which launched a rival in mid-2012.
Baidu has expanded into music downloads, online video and other services. In July, it announced the acquisition of a smartphone apps distributor, 91 Wireless, for US$1.9 billion.
For the full year, profit edged up 0.6 percent over 2012 to 10.5 billion yuan. Revenue was up by 43.2 percent to 31.9 billion yuan.